We’re Here!

“Somebody ought to START AN ORGANIZATION!” I moaned in a Facebook post on April 30th, after I read in the paper that yet another person with a disability had chosen MAiD because she couldn’t find suitable housing that she could afford, after years of trying hard and living in unsafe conditions. “I’m so sick of hearing about dying with dignity, when it seems like governments at all levels have decided NOT to support people to live dignified lives, even at the poverty line, much less above it.”

Of course that “somebody” couldn’t be me, I thought. Until my brother said, why not? Use your resources and get it done! And so I did — so WE did, my brother, my sister and me — and here we are. Incorporated as an NPO (Non Profit Organization)! With a logo, a fledgling website, and this blog. Shazam! In a couple of months!

Now we need to get down to work. We’re not really ready to go live yet, and yet I can’t wait. We (the “Board”) need to decide what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. Obviously we need to raise money, but how exactly? And how do we “Invest in Life for PWD’s” like it says in our logo. How do we get money flowing in and then flowing out there in a way that can actually make a difference to people who are at risk of choosing death over life?

It doesn’t get any more important than that. We’re up against the clock for a significant number of people who have been legislated into poverty, or who have had their options narrowed towards death by any number of severe pressures. I believe it’s always “multi-factorial” — that just means many, many conditions may play a role in any one person’s decision to die before their time. Poverty sucks. Disability stigma is real. Ableism is real. Medical ableism is deadly.

So I organized the website to be multi-factorial as well. Yes, we want to raise money, but we also want to raise consciousness. A lot of people with disabilities (including many of those who choose to end their lives) don’t come at life feeling entitled to take up space and have their dignity respected. One research study showed that one of the most difficult things young disabled people faced when trying to transition to adulthood were the consistently low expectations they encountered in their schools, sometimes in their homes, and in their towns and cities. That needs to change, but how? We intend to support people who can help make that change happen.

We intend to collect resources here so that people with or without disabilities can educate themselves in ways others have made positive and meaningful change in the past. That’s one of the things The Library is about. It will also have some of the usual “subject” sections a library has: philosophy; economics; psychology; literature; visual and performing arts; children’s materials; articles and periodicals; videos, podcasts, social media posts, etc., all focussed on people with disabilities, their dignity, their value and their right to choose life over death.

We’re talking about change that puts disabled people at the centre, not out on the periphery, as a group that can demand and get the respect they deserve, not as passive recipients of someone else’s idea of charity. That’s what The Mutual Aid section is all about. Find out more about that in the Mutual Aid Office.

You’ll notice we have a Law Office too. That’s so people with and without disabilities can learn the history of euthanasia and assisted suicide law in Canada; where we can find out about where things stand now, both in the Criminal Law, and in the enthusiastically-complicit provincial medical systems. You will be able to find information about ways to proceed through the formal legal systems set up to “protect” our human and civil rights. You will be able to find out about filing claims and complaints. And how long it takes, and how much it costs. LWD will support legal efforts to defend people with disabilities if and when we can. We will advocate for the repeal of what’s known as Bill C-7, the set of amendments that effectively removed the safeguards built into the original law (known as C-14 or Carter), and expanded the scope of that law to include non-dying people. But lawyers will not get all of the money we raise — NO WAY!

You’ll also notice that we have a Reflection Room which will be a quiet space to go and centre yourself whenever you hear of another person choosing MAiD who might have chosen to live instead, given the needed support. Or when you read something in the Library that gets your blood boiling. Or when your Mutual Aid project gets a bit rough and rocky, as they sometimes do. Or when the Law Office can’t help you with your issue.

I’m imagining a Memorial Wall in the Chapel where we can post the names and dates and possibly a photo or bit of a story about people who have died.

Your thoughts and ideas will be integral to the development of this website, this organization and this effort to change the world. Welcome.


  1. WOW!! So important and so well done in such a short period of time. Thank you for being so dedicated to building Living With Dignity.

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